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Broken-Thuku Muthui

When I replied that I didn’t have a girlfriend and would be graduating from the university later that year, my cousin was quick to offer advice,” University is the best place to get a girlfriend who loves you for who you are.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“In Uni, you have no money, you live on a tight budget and the girl will fall for you for your personality and ambitions. Out here we meet girls in bars and work summits, these girls have an expectation for you to live up to. It becomes very hard to know the girl who is genuinely into you.”

Heeding to his solid advice, I set out in pursuit of love. I have lived in fear of love, for love comes with its burden of commitment and sacrifice. Jesus himself died painfully because of love. I was not a love martyr but at that moment I put all fears aside and took the first stride- putting myself out there. I hang around school after classes. I walked on corridors frequented by lasses (that would not be a bad story to tell the crowd at the engagement party five years from then).

“I was with my girlfriends after class when I first saw him. There was something about his silent smile that captured me and I didn’t realize that he had stopped to say hi and …. the smile. At that moment I knew it was love and here we are!”

I met Shiroh, the H at the end is compulsory she said. Shiroh was one the girls with massive hips, a small waist and small shoulders. Her face was perfect for instagram and snapchat. She wore denim trousers and bad girl boots. An engineer’s T-square protruded from the top of her backpack. She was the type of girl to take camping or hiking. She was in her first year, pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. A brainer but that did not put me off.

“Hi ladies,” I started, not stammering as this was the only shot I would get and first impressions matter a lot,” I have seen you around for quite a while now and I think you are very beautiful.”

It must have been the courage in my voice, the assurance of what I was saying and the smile I wore that must have captured them.

“I have two immediate needs now; to grab a cold glass of juice and to have a chat with these two charming ladies…” I was cut short.

“Slowly Mr. Confidence. We don’t give a damn what your needs are. What makes you think we are that desperate?” Shiroh’s less attractive friend was giving in to my vibe. I thrived on rejection. I still do.

“Can’t a smitten man get a chance?” I pleaded.

“Is this how you ask ladies out for a date?” Shiroh was at it now.

“Actually I have not asked any, out before. Thanks for the complement.”

“That was no complement loser.” Shiroh pouted.

“I am Chris, First of My Name. Pleasure to meet you.” I said and bowed. I was loving the game and the girls were playing along.

That evening, I was three hundred shillings poorer but the date had gone on well. I didn’t get Shiroh’s number but I knew where to get her. Months later we were having a good time. We created and relived memories. We did things lovers do. We watched sunsets and stars at night. We kissed in the moonlight. We held hands and giggled childishly in the streets. I took her to movies and to the mall. Then the lecturers strike struck again only that it was severe this time.

She went home. I stayed in town for an internship. I was mugged and lost everything. As a student, my bag had everything including the will to live. Shiroh was out of reach for two months. I graduated and joined the tarmacking school of life. She came back to the city to live with her aunt as she started a course in Archicard. We saw less of each other and started growing apart. Over the phone, we talked of the future and how we will go back to the old times.

“This is just a passing cloud Shiroh. Soon it will be gone and we will dance in the sun.”

Last Sunday I woke up from a bad dream into a worse reality. It was Mother’s day. I wanted to wish all mothers, including my future wife a happy mother’s day. My phone had dropped from the bed to the floor. I took it out, turned on the data to access Facebook. The first picture loaded, the phone dropped from my hands and hit me in the face. In high definition, probably shot by a professional photographer, and with a black and white theme it was out there, a baby-bum photo of my girlfriend. The photo spoke a thousand words. She held her bulge meticulously in both hands, one below and the other on top, because it was life. Her eyes were focused on her belly and a smile was glowing on her radiant face. It was a photo I would have treasured in another life. I looked at it again just to be sure and I saw the caption, Kiddo you make me celebrate today. Hashtag motherhood, missing you already.

I felt a tear flow from the corner of my eye and make its way to my pillow. I had lost when I thought I had won. I felt worn, torn and conned.

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